Ajax are back in business with a chance of winning the Europa League to leave Jose Mourinho empty-handed. Here are the pick of a fine Dutch bunch
Davinson Sánchez (21- Defender).
When you see Davinson Sánchez play you don’t need to see his passport to discover his South American origins – charging forward with the ball in the 90th minute, rash in the tackle and never shying away from a battle. He leads the backline with conviction and is a nightmare for any attacker. It was for that exact reason that Barcelona wanted to sign him last summer.
The Blaugranas insisted on letting Sánchez blend in with the Barcelona B team first which made the Colombian international choose Ajax instead. Now, nine months later, Barcelona is expected to make another bid for Sánchez, but this time to bolster their first team. Barca will face strong competition, though, as the 21-year-old defender has been absolutely sensational all season.
Sánchez is developing so rapidly that another year at Ajax might hinder his growth. He looks ready for a next step and Barcelona seems perfect.
Hakim Ziyech (24 – Midfielder)
Having been signed from FC Twente for €11M in the summer of 2016, Ziyech had a lot of expectations to live up to. And it would be fair to say that he has done precisely that. The midfielder’s marvelous technique, combined with the energy he puts in every game makes him the personification of the current Ajax side.
Despite his undisputed natural ability, someone with his slight physique would normally never be able to make it in a top European league but Ziyech’s high-intensity style of play compensates for his lack of physicality.
At 24-years-of-age, Ziyech has reached a point of his career where a step to one of the top leagues seems logical. With his Moroccan background, the French league would be a good fit with already qualified for the Champions League OGC Nice emerging as the perfect match.
Davy Klaassen (24 – Midfielder)
Just like Ziyech, Davy Klaassen is a very energetic midfielder. His passion and energy are almost infectious and make him an ideal captain. His performances for Ajax over the past three seasons presented him with several opportunities to leave for big clubs like Napoli but Klaassen, at 24, is still at his boyhood club.
This summer, that might change, though, as his age suggests the time is right to make a move. Ajax has made it clear that €25M is Klaassen’s price tag, underlining the Dutchman’s importance to the team. Ronald Koeman’s Everton has already shown interest for Klaassen and with the money on show in the Premier League, Ajax’s asking price shouldn’t be a stumbling block for The Toffees.
If Klaassen leaves Ajax, Merseyside would be the place to be for the midfielder. Both clubs are playing with high intensity and are challenging for European football.
Amin Younes (23 – forward)
The former Borussia Mönchengladbach player has been unstoppable this year. In fact, there isn’t a player in the Dutch league or the Europa League that skips past defenders with more ease than Amin Younes. When in front of goal, granted, he tends to fluff his lines which is something he needs to improve. It’s no coincidence, however, that Bundesliga sensations, RB Leipzig, are interested in the winger.
The praise he is currently getting is fully deserved, having arguably been Ajax’s stand-out player in this season’s Europa League campaign. A statistic that will back up the judgment is that Younes has completed at least twice as many one-on-ones than any other player in the Europa League 2016/17. Simply baffling.
It will be hard for Ajax to hold on to the former German youth international but it is very likely that the club will more than recoup the €2.5M they paid for him in 2015. The aforementioned RB Leipzig is Younes’ probable destination and the German club seems a good fit.